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Argentina travel

Hey all,

I'm considering a sojourn to Argentina once this insanity ends, mostly to the more wild parts of the country. Has anyone here ever traveled to Argentina and if so, what were your impressions?

-- Mike Beebe

Posted by
6758 posts

It's been so long since someone asked about Argentina that I can't find most of my old posts, but here is one:
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/beyond-europe/argentina-7fa79fa3-7be9-4568-88e6-14e010da32fb

Argentina is vast and stunningly beautiful - the parts I went to were tropical (Iguazu Falls), urban / colonial city, smaller Andean villages, and areas that looked similar to the South West (cacti, rock formations, etc). I don't know what you mean by "wild" since there is nothing but emptiness, small villages and surreal landscapes outside all the large cities like Buenos Aires, Salta, Mendoza, etc. In those "in-the-middle-of-nowhere" areas, it's best to know some working Spanish (you won't find any English speakers). My advice is to pick up a Footprint guide and thoroughly research a specific region since they are huge and diverse, and temperatures will vary wildly even in the same month. Don't be afraid to rent a car (unless you don't know how to drive manual, I'm not sure what kind of inventory you'll have to work with).

When I went in 2009, there was still an overhang of the 2001 financial crash. Since then, there have been more since the country keeps defaulting on its loans, and they can't seem to get out of this vicious cycle. You can feel a certain sadness and dourness in Buenos Aires, at least, that this was a once much better off country. In some old neighborhoods, you can see the decrepit grandeur in the buildings and architecture. The currency shortage back then was a bit of a pain, and a parallel market for cash withdrawals was fully in place (regular and black market). I think Argentina is probably in an even worse economic situation now, but it is nevertheless a totally gorgeous country.

Posted by
6763 posts

We were in Buenos Aires, Bariloche and the nearby national park where we crossed into Chile’s National Park. Look at doing the Lakes Crossing, a beautiful One to two day trip.
There is a strong Italian heritage in Buenos Aires which means lots of good Italian restaurants. When we visited you could tell the economy was struggling, broken pavements, weeds in flower gardens in parks including around Casa Rosada, the Presidential Palace.
Our hotel was in Recoleta, a very nice area, and they warned us not to get into a taxi unless it had been called for us. One time we didn’t do that and had to escape the taxi when driver headed down a one way street in the opposite direction from where we requested. So be careful.
Dealing with Argentinian border patrol when crossing to Chile in a National Forest was very, very bureaucratic. Much importance was given to our documents, and they made everyone stand in line in alphabetical order, a lot of people, and they went through all of our luggage, a lot of papers were stamped and there were very self important guards. We encountered this in Chile too. Military feeling. We have been in quite a few Communist countries and never had experiences like this.
There we are in a forest in the middle of nowhere , a bunch of tourists, and we have never gone through such malarkey in any other country ever when trying to leave!
But it was beautiful, lakes, volcanoes.

Posted by
1425 posts

I went to Argentina in 2017 on a tour with Overseas Adventure Travel.

Similar to Suki, we went from Bariloche across the Andes into Chile and spent a good deal of time exploring Patagonia on the Chilean side, then reentered Argentina near Torres del Paine National Park and went to El Calafate and Perito Moreno Glacier. We spent a few days on either side of this trip in Buenos Aires, and after that we went to Iguazu Falls and also stayed a few days at an ecolodge a few hours bus-ride away.

I loved every part of the trip. Many of the highlight were in Chile, so if you want to spend any amount of time in Patagonia, you should definitely plan to cover both countries. Of course there were large parts of the country we never got to on this trip, so if you want to see the north, or wine country around Mendoza, or the Atlantic coast regions, you have a lot of ground to cover, and I can't offer any thoughts about those parts of the country.

Our experience crossing the border between Argentina and Chile was not as rigid and bureaucratic as Suki experienced. We did have to remove all luggage from the bus, but my sense was that they were more concerned with agricultural products crossing the border than with people. We were warned in advance not to bring certain food items.

Patagonia was one of the most scenically breathtaking places I've ever been. I highly recommend it.

I also loved Buenos Aires. I'm sure the effects of the coronavirus have taken a toll on the economy, and that will likely be felt for some time to come. But it's a beautiful city with gorgeous architecture, wide boulevards, and charming neighborhoods.

The lodge where we stayed in Misiones Province was Yacutinga (https://www.yacutinga.com/en/). Really great experience!

Iguazu Falls are very impressive. We saw them both from the Argentina and Brazil sides. While the Brazil side is worth visiting, the views are far better on the Argentina side.

Posted by
4948 posts

We have visited South America three times. Each time it was in connection with a cruise, but we did a significant land trip as well.

Each country in South America that we have visited (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay) is different with its own culture and cuisine.

Argentina is a beautiful country, we spend five days in Buenos Aires prior to a cruise around the Horn of South America. We visited ports in Uruguay, Argentina and Chile. The cruise ended in Chile. I highly recommend this cruise. The scenic places are amazing and each port is special.
Argentina is well known for its beef and the best steak that we have ever eaten was in Buenos Aires.
Chile is more famous for its seafood. The Sea Bass, crab and Tuna are fantastic. They have crab filled empanadas that are amazing. In Argentina you are likely to get empanadas filled with beef, which are excellent.
If you go to Buenos Aires, be sure and go to a Tango Show, there are several and excellent.

One thing about Argentina, is that the country was once very prosperous a hundred years ago, but it has fallen economically, frankly, due to poor leadership. There are places in Buenos Aires that can be very dangerous to visit. Find out where and don't go there.

Chile has had far better leadership and seems more prosperous. There is lots to see in Chile in the Santiago area.

Peru is our favorite South American country. The dining there is amazing. The Peruvian cuisine is special. They have lots of seafood and other great dishes. Machu Picchu is amazing as well as the Sacred Valley and Cuzco.

Posted by
3319 posts

We only went to Buenos Aires on our 2016 trip but loved every minute of it. Our hotel, the Scala, was in the working class San Telmo area. We walked to most places and never felt unsafe. For Recoleto cemetery, we took the metro, and to go to La Boca, we took a local bus since both were too far to walk. If we had had another day, we would have taken the ferry over to La Colonia, Uruguay. One day, while visiting the 1929 era Castelar Hotel, hangout of poet Federico Garcia Lorca and writer Jorge Luis Borges, we ran across Miss Argentina and a number of other Miss wherever they were from. I thoroughly enjoyed the architecture throughout the city. In La Boca, we stayed in the main area since some parts have a crime problem, especially at night. If you’re into S. American history a visit to the crypt of San Martin, liberator of Argentina and other countries, is a must.

For our other S. American trips, we loved Quito, Ecuador and Santiago, Chile. In Quito we hired a driver through the hotel to go to the equator and nearby towns and in Santiago, we either walked or took the metro. Valparaiso was really a dump, but we were glad we visited. In Peru we were on a tour and would have liked more time in Lima and Cuzco. Machu Picchu was fantastic. If you ever plan on visiting there, try to get a ticket to climb Waynapicchu, the tall peak you see the many Machu Picchu photos. The number of visitors allowed to climb it is extremely limited, but the view from it is spectacular. The town of Urubamba was interesting to walk around. The ruins at Pisac and Ollantaytambo where nice to visit.

Posted by
378 posts

Thank you all so much.

I posted this on Wednesday morning. By Wednesday evening, I was in the hospital having a stent put in my heart. Then on Friday (today) I lost my job. Sadly, this mean no travel for me for the foreseeable future. I'm going to go away for awhile, but I'll be back someday when we can all travel again.

Good luck to all you wonderful people, and thank you.

-- Mike Beebe

Posted by
1170 posts

Oh goodness, Mike! All the best wishes for you for recovery and with the job situation! You will be missed - but really, none of us are going anywhere terribly soon.... :) Take care and don’t be gone long.

Posted by
2128 posts

I’m so sorry to hear this, Mike. I hope you are back on your feet soon. Very soon. Your sense of humor will be missed.

Posted by
4793 posts

Wow, I was going to tell you about our not-so-great visit to Buenos Aires in 2016 but your latest news supersedes that. Best wishes for a good recovery, and I hope another job soon. I've always enjoyed your posts -- especially the memorable "pints" itinerary a few years back -- and appreciated your good-humored take on things and your writing style. I hope you return to the forum often (what else is there to do, really?) and we get to hear from you. Illegitimati non carborundum! Dick

Posted by
6758 posts

Mike, take good care of your health and spirits, and come back as soon as you feel up to it.

Posted by
31303 posts

Mike,

Sorry to hear about your medical and job situations. Best wishes for a speedy recovery in both cases, and hopefully you'll be travelling again soon!